Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Teach Our Children Well

Zero Common Sense

The earlier incarnation of this blog focused almost exclusively on issues relating to K-12 education in the United States, particularly in public school systems. Now that my career as a professional educator has ended, I don't talk about those issues nearly so often, but every once in awhile a story comes along that make my blood boil every bit as much as it used to when I was still a part of the system.

On January 27, two male students at San Pasqual High School in Escondido, California had their vehicles searched because a drug-sniffing dog "alerted" on those cars, triggering a warrantless search.

What officials found in both vehicles was some Advil, which allegedly caused the dog to "alert" to begin with.

Never mind the questionable reliability of such dogs in the first place, the fact that no illicit drugs were found in either vehicle should have resulted in a simple apology to both students, and nothing more. That is not what happened, unfortunately.

That these young men might be charged with crimes is bad enough, but for school district officials to even consider expelling them is to double down on the stupid. And that they were eventually cleared of any wrongdoing and allowed to return to school today is quite beside the point. The real issue here is the mind-numbing stupidity of "zero tolerance" policies and the eagerness of half-witted school bureaucrats to bring them to bear for the most trifling of "offenses."

Never mind the national election going on, folks. If you live in a community where school officials pull this kind of crap, THAT is where your political energies need to be focused. Some people are simply too stupid to be in charge of your child's education or his safety.

Not at all...stuff like this happens somewhere in the country almost every day...the stupid people responsible for it need to be held accountable...

Meanwhile, On a College Campus Near You...

...equally stupid people are trampling all over freedom of speech, due process, freedom of association, and other assorted goodies from the Bill of Rights. And, just as in K-12 education, the halfwits responsible claim they're doing it to "protect" our college students. What those students (and their professors) actually need protection from is folks who don't understand what freedom is or how it works.

The invaluable Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) just published it's annual list of the 10 Worst Colleges for Free Speech in the past year (2015).

I can guarantee that when you read the list and see how these institutions wound up
on it, you will shake your head and wonder how such things can happen in a country supposedly respectful of individual rights and equal protection under the law.

It is especially distressing to me to see so many Catholic institutions on the list. I am hopeful that this year those responsible for these outrages decided to give up being fascists for Lent...

"Don't hold your breath on that one."
Believe me, I won't...


From the droll webcomic xkcd, by Randall Munroe, which you should read every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, as I do.

Until Next Time...

One of the harshest appellations in the music business is "One-Hit Wonder," applied to artists who only produce a single noteworthy hit song in their careers. Fairly or unfairly, the tag is also applied to artists who enjoy long and successful careers if their biggest hit record overshadows the rest of their music.

The latter proved to be the case with Eugene Dixon and "Duke of Earl." The song originated as nothing more than a warm-up exercise for the R&B vocal group to which he belonged at the time, and his record label thought so little of its commercial potential that they didn't want to release it under the group's name. Given the offer of releasing it as a solo effort, Dixon did so using the name "Gene Chandler." And the rest, as they say, was history.

Original 1962 45 rpm single
On February 17, 1962 Chandler's song hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart, a position it would hold for three weeks.

While Chandler scored 26 other Hot 100 charting singles in his career, including three Top 20 hits, he never came close to matching the success of "Duke of Earl." Casual music fans can be forgiven for mistakenly placing Chandler on "One-Hit Wonder" lists, but he deserves a better fate.

"Duke of Earl" has been enshrined in both the Rock and Roll and Grammy Halls of Fame, and Chandler himself was chosen for inclusion in the Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame. He was selected for that honor based on his distinguished career as a writer and producer as well as a singer.

Today's send-off is Dixon/Chandler's original 1962 recording, one of the most iconic songs in all of American popular music. Enjoy...

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